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The article suggests that he was "fired" in some way:

  > Sources have said the move came amid growing 
  > tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. 
  > Sinofsky, though seen as highly talented, was 
  > viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team 
  > player that the company was looking for...

  > In a press release, Ballmer praised Steven’s work,
  > but also talked about a need for “more integrated
  > and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”
Further, I think your parents' question still fits with a little bit of wrangling even if he wasn't fired. It would be interesting to know what it feels like to reach a very high rank at a company and then to step down.

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